The City of North Port announced that it will continue its aggressive pursuit of code violations by assessing the family of a man found dead beside a city roadway for numerous infractions incurred during the 16 hours the body remained there from the time North Port 911 was first notified of its presence. Remarked one city official, "Everybody gets treated the same in North Port; it doesn't matter whether you're dead or alive."
A passerby found the unresponsive Brian Wood, 55, while on his way to a friend's house with his girlfriend in an unpopulated area without street lighting. Reluctant to get out of his vehicle, 19-year old Mark Minisci, Jr. drove to a nearby 7-11 and used the pay phone to call for help. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of calling 911, instead.
Minisci informed North Port 911 operator, Nadia Kashitskaya, about a man lying along "Lovebird" or "Lovesong" Road, to which the operator curtly informed him that she had no such street name listed. Undeterred, Minisci gave her turn-by-turn directions to the site, to which the operator again curtly informed him that, "Our system doesn't work like that."
Now bewildered, Minisci gave up. He probably thought 911 was going to ask him to go back and check on the guy's vital signs and call back to determine whether it was an emergency or if it could wait until somebody had some free time to go look for themselves.
Curiosity got the better of Minisci, so he took some friends back to the area the following day and, lo and behold, the corpse was still there--some 16 hours after he had called 911. Armed with the correct spelling of the street this time, he again called North Port 911 to report a body beside LOVEring Rd.
Only, by now, the body had a string of Christmas lights around it and, this being North Port, several code violation notices tucked behind its glasses, as well as traffic barricades on both sides of it.
North Port Police Chief, Terry Lewis, proudly announced, "From what I have been able to determine so far, it appears it was operator error and the 911 system worked." By "worked," the chief meant that someone picked up the phone when it rang.
He also cited underfunding as a reason why the 911 operator could not make the connection between "Lovering" Rd. and what the caller supposed was "Lovebird" or "Lovesong" Rd. The Chief explained that in instances where an operator can't find a street name on the 1987 Texaco Oil Co. map that the city uses, the operator has instructions to call longtime resident, Wilma Kaminsky, who knows most of the city's streets, having worked as a mail carrier in the area for 22 years.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Kaminsky was babysitting her two grandchildren at her daughter Sylvia's home the night that this particular call came in and hubby, Ed, ususally doesn't answer the phone when Wilma's not home, since it's almost never for him and Ed's not much of a talker anyway.
The Chief blamed neighborhood hooligans for putting the Christmas lights on the body of the man, but praised the Public Works Dept. for installing the traffic barricades, calling the placement of one on either side of the 'hazard' a "textbook example of traffic safety."
The North Port Public Safety Dept. is already reeling from the dismissal of two of it's fire dept. personnel for choosing to continue to coach a youth soccer game instead of responding to an emergency call while on duty. "I don't know what more the public wants from us," complained one emergency responder. "We get in trouble for driving a fire truck out of our assigned area to coach soccer and not answering a call. I mean, it's not like we didn't go check on this guy. We did. Eventually."
The city's legal department said that the late Mr. Wood is being cited for, among other things, impeding traffic, camping without a permit and having an illegal Christmas display on a public right-of-way. "It doesn't matter to us who put the lights there," they explained, "the deceased is responsible and, ergo, his heirs and assigns are accruing the accompanying fines daily. And we won't take a settlement, so don't even ask!"
It was also learned that the city's road crew was also in the area the next day doing some sprucing up of the neighborhood's streets and, according to unnamed officials "may have inadvertently impacted" the lifeless body of Mr. Wood.
"Impacted", as in: